“What About Extracellular Matrix For Heart Valve Repair?” Asks Paul
Since posting my video interview with Doctor Marc Gerdisch about Extracellular Matrix, I have received several patient emails about this unique technology. Paul writes to me, “Adam – What do you think about the procedure where an Extracellular Matrix cloth is attached to the damaged valve which stimulates tissue growth and fixes the problem without a heart valve replacement? Thanks, Paul”
Personally, I’m fascinated with technology. So, I’m very intrigued to see how Extracellular Matrix impacts heart valve repair and heart valve replacement surgery over time. However, to better understand the clinical application of Extracellular Matrix for patients today, I contacted Dr. Gerdisch, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at St. Francis Heart Center in Indiana.
In response to Paul’s question, Dr. Gerdisch began the discussion with an overview of Extracellular Matrix.
Paul asked about our work with extracellular matrix (ECM). We have been using ECM inside patients’ hearts for nearly 4 years. This has included valve leaflet reconstructions. The ECM is derived from the small intestine of pigs and is processed to remove all cells, leaving only a complex structural matrix. This material serves as a scaffold, allowing the patient’s cells to infiltrate, organize and ultimately replace the ECM scaffold. What remains is remodeled functional tissue instead of scar tissue or injured tissue.
Dr. Gerdisch then discussed the early results of ExtraCellular Matrix.
We have used Extracellular Matrix in about 60 cardiac patients. We have been very gratified with the results thus far. For patients with extensive damage to all valve leaflets, we are currently working in the lab on ECM replacement valves. Our initial work is with tricuspid and pulmonary valves (right side of heart). The left side valves (aortic and mitral) are “on the drawing board.
To help us all learn about ExtraCellular Matrix, I am re-posting a video in which Doctor Marc Gerdisch discusses this unique technology for heart valve therapy including mitral valve repair.
Thanks to Paul for his question about Extracellular Matrix. And, a special thanks to Doctor Marc Gerdisch, cardiac surgeon, for sharing his clinical experience with us.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.